When I first started Roundpeg and I didn’t have many client meetings and projects filling my days, I would make lots of appointments with people I didn’t know well. Obviously, my hope was that each of these conversations would lead to a business opportunity and sometimes they did.
More often then not, however, the coffee or lunch would provide an unexpected value. The person I was meeting would share an idea, or information about a tool they were using to run their business or a networking group they were attending. While there was no immediate payoff, the long term benefits were many.
Unfortunately, as my business grew, my schedule filled. I am not complaining about the business growth, but I miss the opportunities to chat, exchange ideas and learn new things. While social media has filled some of the gaps, there are times nothing will replace a chance to sit down face to face with someone I like and respect just to talk.
So a few weeks ago, I added a step to my weekly routine. As I develop my call sheet, I include at least one person every day who is not a prospect. It might be an old friend, a strategic partner I haven’t had a chance to talk with lately, or a former customer. These short calls have no specific purpose, except to tell them I was thinking about them and find out what’s new. But the results have been terrific. I have had a few laughs, learned a few new things, had some enjoyable lunches and even made a sale
The point is, even when you are too busy for networking, you have to make time to stay in touch, stay connected and stay in the game.